Sunday, November 13, 2011

Deepavali Lunch - Lamb Curry etc.

    Lunch spread - aerial view
Had a few friends over for curry and other Indian(Sri Lankan?)-type dishes for Deepavali. FYI: For those unfamiliar with Deepavali (aka Diwali) it is a Hindu festival marking the triumph of good over evil, as told in the Mahabharata. Naturally, a lot of eating is involved :) And curry is the main feature. (YUM!)

Made a dry lamb curry for this lunch - the recipe is actually in my head, taught to me by my mother, so no exact quantities to go by. But I've tried to document it as best as I can (see below).

Other dishes I made to compliment the lamb curry are also food my mother used to make:
  1. Stir-fried okra - sliced diagonally and stir-fried with a bit of cumin, turmeric, salt, black mustard seeds, dried chillies, curry leaves, red onion, and garlic.

    I was ecstatic when I found fresh okra in Woolworths! I think the combo of this okra dish and lamb (or chicken) curry is the best food pairing everrr :)

  2. Deep fried eggplant - soaked in salt water first to remove the bitterness, then seasoned with chilli powder, some turmeric, salt, and deep-fried.

    Wasn't planning to make this initially, but found some lovely Lebanese eggplants, again at Woolies, and decided to deep fry some for the lunch.

  3. Indian-style egg omelette - egg beaten with chilli powder and salt, and fried with diced red onion, the cut into rough squares.

    My omelette was paler than usual - probably because I used less chilli powder than usual.

  4. Fish cutlets - boiled and mashed potatoes, fish boiled in salt and turmeric and mashed, mixed with a bit of garam masala, diced red onion, chilli powder, salt, and a bit of egg, rolled into little balls and deep-fried.

    I'm not sure why they're called fish cutlets, because they definitely don't look like lamb cutlets... I guess they're more like fish cakes. Can be made with prawn instead of fish - I'm keen to try making prawn cutlets sometime in the near future :)

  5. Basmati rice

  6. Pappadum - bought some from the Asian grocer, and deep-fried them :)
Yes, a lot of deep-fried food. Was planning to make some dhal, or gravy - something that can be poured over the rice - but ran out of time!

(At this point, while typing out this post, I am desperately craving some lamb curry...)

Verdict on my food - my friends loved the food! But I'm not sure how my aunts, the curry experts, would rate my curry...

Enjoy the pictures :)

The fish for the fish cutlets, after being boiled in turmeric and salt water

The cutlets all rolled up and arranged on plates - ready to be deep-fried

Fish cutlets - the finished product :)

Lamb curry - I like to dice my lamb up into small, bite-sized pieces. Just wish the photo looked as good as the curry tasted! :p


Deep-fried eggplant

Lamb Curry Recipe (approximate)

I use the same recipe for lamb and chicken. What makes them taste different is the taste of the meat itself. Since I usually don’t measure how much of the ingredients I use, this ‘recipe’ is just a guideline – feel free to adjust and experiment until you find a balance that suits you.

  • 300g of meat (for chicken it’s usually just one large chicken breast)
  • 1 medium to large sized potato (optional)
  • 1 big truss tomato (you can use normal tomatoes too)
  • 1 medium sized red onion
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • Ginger – a piece the size of your big toe? Erm, 3cmx3cmx2cm?
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1 medium sized cinnamon stick (or cinnamon powder – but the stick works better I think :p)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
  • 5 heaped tablespoons meat curry powder mix (I use Baba’s, which can be found at most Asian grocers)
  • 2 tablespoons chilli powder (again, Baba’s, but anything will do – the amount is totally up to you whether you want it to be spicy or not)
  • Salt – to taste. I just usually add some, taste the curry, and then add more if it isn't salty enough
  • Brown sugar - I add a bit because I think it makes the curry taste that much better :)
  • Vegetable oil (or sunflower/canola)

1. Dice onions to small pieces (I usually cut it into half then cut each halve into 3 and then just slice it thinly, but not too thin). And finely chop up 2 garlic cloves.

2. Pound 1 garlic clove, the ginger, and a bit of the diced onion together in a pestle and mortar until it forms a paste.

3. Cut meat up into pieces – size is your choice (but not too big - I like bite-sized pieces). Then mix in the paste from Step 2 and leave to ‘marinade’ while you prepare the other ingredients.

4. Cut tomato into eighths. Peel and dice potatoes so that they are about the same size as the meat pieces.

5. Heat oil in a wok till moderately hot (medium fire).

6. Throw in curry leaves, fennel, cumin and cinnamon stick (broken into 2) and cook till fragrant (about 1-2 minutes).

7. Then throw in the diced onions and chopped garlic and cook till they start to brown then put in the tomato.

8. Cook until tomato starts to soften (don’t let the onions and garlic burn). Then throw in the meat and stir well. Cover it for 5 to let the meat cook.

9. Remove the cover, throw in the potatoes, put in the curry and chilli powder and salt and give it a good stir. Then add 1 cup of water, stir, and cover again and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes (check constantly and stir so it doesn’t dry up too much, or burn).

10. Remove cover again and cook on a higher heat (stirring continuously) till the curry becomes dry. Drizzle with a bit more oil as this helps it to get a nice moist texture. (This step 10 is optional - if you want a curry with some gravy, skip this step).

11. Once the curry becomes your desired consistency, remove it from the wok and devour with some Basmati rice :):)

*You can add in half a cup of coconut milk/normal milk in step 10 if you want and serve it either as a wet or dry curry.

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